Expert comment: National Libraries DayFriday 5 February 2016
Director of Library and Learning Spaces Susan Murray talks about the importance of supporting local libraries, as the country prepares to celebrate National Libraries Day.
Book lovers across the UK will celebrate the fifth annual National Libraries Day on Saturday (6th February), recognising the importance of libraries as a public service.
Libraries across the country will organise a wide-range of events promoting the difference public libraries can make to leisure and study activities. Despite cuts to services and opening hours, visiting a library is still one of the most popular activities in the UK. In 2013-14, there were more than 280 million visits, with more people visiting a library than going to a Premier League football match (13.9 million), the theatre (22 million) and the cinema (165.5 million) combined.
This level of use is a positive indication of the need to protect our public library service, and one that librarians are campaigning about. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals launched ‘My Library by Right’ last December, to challenge and remind the government that under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museum Act everyone has a right to a quality public library service.*
To avoid closure, many branch libraries are being taken over by volunteers, who - while doing a great job to keep their local libraries open - often rely on donations. As such, they don’t have the resources, investment, expertise or staff levels to offer more than a basic book lending service, and a good public library should offer so much more.
So if you haven’t been to a library in Liverpool yet, why not visit one on Saturday and find out more about their fantastic collection of physical and online resources, learning spaces and facilities. Find out more here.
As well as visiting your local library, you can also show your support by joining the National Libraries Day Thunderclap or via Twitter using #librariesday.
* Reference – Visiting libraries most popular UK activity, via Ned Potter.
Picture: Central Library Liverpool